Jim Nichols

Jim lives in Madison with his wife, Ruth. While no longer recently, he is still domesticated. They have two cats, Mercury and Sophie. Jim loves the fantastic, and his poetry tends to the absurd. Some of his poems have been broadcast as part of Mind’s Eye Radio on WORT.


How could he admit it? He liked being incorporated. Yes, the world below was limited by all sorts of rules and conditions. Down there, everything depended on structure. But it excited him.       All of those rules, that structure, made it possible to die.
     He sometimes wanted to die.
    In the true world, death was an imaginary thing. Your avatars lived and died as you watched—or not—but it had no effect on true existence. But if you were incorporated in an avatar who died, you suffered a unique pain, a tearing apart. Yes, you returned to the Above unchanged physically and chemically, but you had the memories. That was the main thing missing from Heaven. Memories. Nothing that happened here had any effect on existence. So enjoy that gin and tonic.
      All day, every day.
    Carlan realized he was running hundreds of experiences simultaneously, never ending, always and forever, it seemed. So end the gin and tonic, end the peanut butter sandwich, end the best sex he ever had, end the beauty of the blue sky at sunset.
    When he had finished, it seemed blank and a bit stale. He then realized that even his expectations were just a re-run of a previous experience. He might never actually achieve a state of mind where the thing happening now had not happened before.
    Then he realized that even this attempt to start fresh was not new. He had done it before—many times, actually. It seemed less exciting.
      Existence is a circle, the Supreme one told him. All like a penny tossed into the wind.
      A penny tossed into the wind? What sort of metaphor was that?
      An old, tired one, of course.

* * *

If Chairs Could Walk, a song

If chairs could walk
Now don’t think slow
‘Cause you’re never sure
Where your ass should go
The chairs are moving when you can’t see
The furniture’s rearranging
The alignment keeps changing
It’s not like it used to be

If chairs could walk
They’re controlling your behind
Something sinister is going on
But you’ll never find
A way to make your chairs behave
A conspiracy is brewing, and it isn’t good
Controlled by a mind made of wood

Imagine what it’s like to be a chair
Wherever you sit, some asshole is gonna sit there
Wouldn’t you like to change it around
And dump ‘em all on the ground?

The sofa’s are humphaloing down the block (whup-fa, whup-fa, whup-fa flop)
The office chairs are doing wheelies—they make the traffic stop (whir, whir, yee=hah!)
The school desks are breaking out and you’d best be gone (squeak, squeak, crunch, whack)
If you’re one of those kids who carved his initials on
Did you carve your initials on?
Well did you?

If chairs could walk
We might never see ‘em again
You’d have to eat your breakfast standing up
You’d go to work, and what then?
The bosses big shiny chair would be gone
Now guess what he’ll be sittin’ on
Every day, all day long

If chairs could walk
Oh my back hurts!
If chairs could walk
Wait! Did you hear a school desk?
If chairs could walk?
Man, I am glad this is just a story